US Federal Government Makes First Move to Take Control Of Sports Betting

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The overthrowing of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) opened up the golden floodgate of opportunities for many states in the US. However, until now, all these opportunities and the task of regulating them fell with the respective State Senates.

But it may not remain so for long. In a show of bipartisan support for the regulation of sports betting by the Federal Government, two high-ranking US senators are urging the Center to take complete control over sports betting regulations across the nation.  

US Senators – Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer of New York have introduced a bill on Wednesday, outlining the basic regulatory measures and minimum standards for pan-American sports betting. The objective of the bill, the senators say, is to ensure that the integrity of the games is never compromised.

Referring to the  Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018, Sen. Schumer says the new bill will seek to expand the strength and coverage of the Act, thereby setting up measures that will prevent illegality and cheating during the games. The Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018 prohibits the acceptance of sports wagering, except for social wagering and states explicit standards for the acceptance of online sports wagers. The Act also covers issues regarding integrity fees; a type of fees the bill neither actively rejects nor openly accepts.

The Federal bill has also made a provision for the setting up of a National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse to monitor all sports betting transactions and track suspicious and illegal activities across the country. The bill is set to cover every single stakeholder under its purview, including operators, state regulators, national regulators and sporting leagues.

So far, key sporting authorities like the National Football League (NFL), have weighed in with their support for the bill. Executive vice president of the NFL, Jocelyn Moore, is particularly vocal about her support. She believes that the bill will usher in massive positive changes for sports and sports betting in the country. With sporting integrity a matter of national concern, not restricted to the state involved, she believes the Federal bill may make sports betting more secure and as a result, more entertaining to indulge in.

Right now, some states which offer sports betting, like Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Virginia, have already pre-filed their state-specific bills for 2019. Until the Federal bill is passed, these states are free to follow their own state-specific bills and regulate sports betting as they see fit. According to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, early 2019 may see as many as 30 states legalize sports betting and pass their own bills for betting regulation.


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